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In the Performance Studies course we have been learning about the processes of improvising and rehearsing which has led to three separate performances in each of the three major art forms, Dance, Drama and Music.

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Introduction

In the Performance Studies course we have been learning about the processes of improvising and rehearsing which has led to three separate performances in each of the three major art forms, Dance, Drama and Music and a final piece integrating the three disciplines. In this essay, I will discuss these processes and look at ways in which each discipline, though discrete, has many similarities. Each piece was developed from an initial idea or motif, often using similar techniques. Indeed, the terminology used in the separate disciplines is often the same, for example motif, canon and dynamics. In Dance, the improvisation process commenced with a motif taught by the teacher. We broke down the motif into phrases of actions to enable us to memorise it, gradually linking the actions to produce the whole motif. The motif consisted of an action of steps in a circular motion followed by jumping on the spot with swaying arm gestures. Following this were the actions of a tilt and turn combined, finishing in a straight line of steps with a crouching position. Firstly, each individual selected a different part of the motif which they then repeated. I decided to repeat the jumping and crouching actions, therefore changing the spatial design. We then worked in pairs changing the direction of the motif by altering the stepping sequences so we stepped towards, around and away from each other providing another variation. This is similar to the way in which a musical theme is developed. We then worked in a group of four changing the direction as in the pair work. We also developed the motif visually and through the use of variations in time. We used sudden time in the action of steps and combined sustained time with canon, so after every two beats, each person carried out a sustained action. Canon is a technique used in music composition too. ...read more.

Middle

We also focused on voice projection and clarity, varying the tone of voice to show expression. Volume was equally important; loud enough to be heard, but not so loud that contrasts could not be distinguished. Boal's technique 'Forum theatre' enabled us to interpret our characters in more than one way, when in the situation of the shopping mall. This was carried out by swapping characters, then watching someone else play your role. By seeing how the audience would perceive our characters, we could make improvements on the dialogue, physicality and proxemics. To improve the proxemics we spoke the stage directions aloud making us aware of how we should enter, leave, and appear in a scene. Through these exercises, we improved our physical and vocal stamina, and so maximised our abilities to communicate with the audience, hence improving physicality. We also carried out technical rehearsals similar to Dance and Music. This included going from the beginning of the pieces right through to the end, checking that each scene linked together smoothly. This involved music, lights, stage management and served to create the atmosphere. Once the routines and responsibilities were understood, artistic flair and final adjustments could develop. Before starting our musical composition we discussed our individual strengths as musicians. There are two clarinettists, one of whom is also a pianist, a singer and a pianist. One of the group studied GCSE music and two are at present studying AS level music. These latter students are confident in composing techniques and this had a positive effect in the way the composition developed. On beginning our music piece, we talked about different styles of music, such as jazz, classical, pop and rock. We also discussed how we would organise our composition in terms of structure and were influenced by the more experienced members as to the different options which can be seen in the diagram below. We chose a classical style with an extended rondo structure-ABACAD We decided to start the piece in a major key as we wanted a bright positive start to the music. ...read more.

Conclusion

This enabled us to increase the level of tension within the piece by interaction. Having thoroughly rehearsed the integrated piece, we then performed the piece to an audience. At the outset I felt nervous, but after a few minutes I settled down into my role and felt more at ease as my confidence improved. The feedback, in the form of written comments from the audience, was very useful as it helped me to understand the positive and negative aspects of the performance from their perspective. The general consensus was that the characterisation was convincing. Initially there was some confusion as to the relationship of the characters and their ages. This could have been improved by more effective make-up and costume. The props helped add interest and produced a framework, which gave the piece structure. However, the use of stagehands to change the props between scenes would have allowed more continuity and fewer interruptions during which the actors could take a freeze position. The performers awareness of proxemics was evident with everyone using the given space to the full. The audience gave positive feedback concerning the integration of the three disciplines, as one person said, 'the drama and dance were very well integrated and one thing flowed into the next.' However, 'the movements were very dramatic and almost real as if you could imagine this happening,' and, 'the music was very well timed and it really fitted in with the theme of the performance.' The music helped to create the mood as well as helping the dance and drama blend together. The audience commented that they gained a clearer understanding of the storyline from the PowerPoint presentation. In conclusion, I have come to a deeper understanding of the process of improvising, rehearsing and performing in the three art forms, and now have a knowledge of how they combine to produce a complete performance. Although they are discrete disciplines in some respect and use techniques specific to each separate area there are many similarities in the ways in which they start and are developed as has been shown throughout this discussion. ...read more.

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